Why almost half of us are on prescription drugs and another ‘benefit‘ for statins

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Medical Research & Studies

As it is often said that what America does today Britain will do tomorrow I worry when the latest statistics show that nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis and that one in five children are being regularly given prescription drugs. If you are over 50 then it is even more worrying as nine out of ten adults in the age group are on drugs. What concerns me more however is the fact that nearly a third use two or more drugs, and more than one in ten use five or more prescription drugs regularly.

That last statistic shows what can happen when you treat a condition on a symptom by symptom basis with the original need overlaying the subsequent responses and side-effects to each consequent drug. For example, if you need anti-migraine medication but it gives you severe stomach upsets then the second drug will help with that but unfortunately it may also have side-effects of its own for which you could easily be given yet a further drug.

The most commonly-used drugs were:

• Statin drugs for older people
• Asthma drugs for children
• Antidepressants for middle-aged people
• Amphetamine stimulants for children

I have said my piece, probably all too often, on the widespread use of statins for what appears to be little perceived benefits and some serious side-effects but — as often happens when a drug is under attack — a perceived benefit has come to light. It appears that regular statin use is associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. It reminds me of that other great drug HRT that always comes up with a new use for a specific condition when negative press appears linking it to a serious drawback for health.

I have no problem with people being given drugs that they need and will cure or alleviate their condition, but unfortunately this is just not always the case. Many of the drugs people take actually cause the very things they claim to prevent: osteoporosis drugs are linked to hip fractures, cancer drugs can cause cancer and antidepressants bizarrely enough have suicidal thoughts listed as a side-effect.

Now that the pharmaceutical industry is global, we are just as much at the mercy of the drug companies without any direct influence on them. We know that the drug companies have falsified research, distorted facts in studies and deliberately suppressed negative information about new drugs. You can’t blame your doctor, as they often as much in the dark as we are, but what you can do is get yourself the very best health insurance — by which I mean taking the very best pro active care of yourself through diet, exercise and stress management together with the all-important enthusiastic positive approach to life which will enhance your chances of an active and healthy life.

So before you rush off to the doctor for a prescription, ask yourself first whether you really need that drug or whether it is something that you can handle with the use of time and some sensible home treatment. In the winter most people get colds, some get flu, and many others are not affected at all so let’s try and make this the winter where your body is so healthy those infections just cannot take hold.

One way to do this is to increase the amount of “super foods” such as chlorella, spirulina and wheat grass in your diet and although I have to confess that none of these have a great taste I have found that adding chlorella and spirulina to a fruit or vegetable juice drink (though turning it an unattractive shade of green) does mean you get the benefit without the taste.

Wheat grass is now making a comeback as years ago (certainly here in Brighton) there were several wheatgrass juice bars with trays of the green stuff growing live and ready to be juiced. Happily — as again it is not top of the pops for taste — you can now buy it in supplement form from Natural Greens as capsules and you will also be helping the charity YES TO LIFE, which helps support people with cancer in the UK in accessing Complementary & Alternative Medicine as they are giving a percentage of the company’s profits to them.

One ‘prescription’ that could help treat emotional and physical pain – with no side-effects
Music is not only the food of love and the healer of the soul but now it seems from new research that it could benefit the treatment of depression and the management of physical pain.